Kindness generally doesn’t cost anything, but has a value beyond measure. There is a burgeoning kindness movement starting to sweep across the globe. Google “kindness” and you’ll find a whole heap of kindness movement websites and associations. They tell you about being kind, it’s benefits, ways to be kind and all about world kindness day, and information about the activities they have organised. These sites are great. They are happy places and you leave them with a bit of a warm and fuzzy feeling, hoping that everyone will find their site and just implement one or two of the ideas. My favourite idea for today is
Drop a few coins in an area where children play, where they can easily find them. Do you remember how excited you felt, when as a child you found a coin lying on the ground? – from Australian Kindness Movement
But now it has left me wondering whether our world has become so self absorbed that we need kindness associations and movements? When I was young my sisters and I were taught to smile, because it not only makes you happy, but everyone else that sees it too. A smile seems to me to be the general communication of kindness. It is rare that a kind act isn’t accompanied by a smile. I don’t think I see quite so many smiles out and about that I used to and I’m hoping that this isn’t a reflection on how much I’m smiling, I don’t think it is, at least I hope not!
I like to smile. I like to smile at shop assistants, when I travelled in the UK, I made a game out of smiling at the shop assistants and telling them that I hoped they had a great day. Sometimes I was greeted with a scared look – what’s this crazy Aussie chick trying? Sometimes I got a surprised little smile. And a couple of times they replied with “You’re the first person to say that to me today” and we had a bit of a chat, apparently it’s not all that common to be kind to shop assistants in London, other areas of the UK are different. It was easy, didn’t cost me anything, and made a difference to somebodies day.
Do we treat our shop assistants, service professionals, tradesmen, waiters, teachers, nurses, insert appropriate occupation here, that poorly? There are numerous stories of increasing stress levels in service occupations. Hospitals and schools are full of signs asking people to be polite and non aggressive. Have we become so focused on ourselves that we forget that we have an impact on others? What in the world are we doing?
Kindness can’t be seen or measured, but if you make a choice to be kind, make the choice to give to the world what you want to receive, then we can create the kind of world we want to live in, but you need to start with yourself.
My challenge to you today is to be kind. Smile more, worry less. Say hello, ask how someone’s day has been. Leave some loose change for the kids in the playground. Make someone else smile. Be kind to your family, your community, to the earth. Maybe, just maybe, it will change your day, your experience, your environment. If you’re not really up to getting out there, how about just be kind to your garden, not only will your plants love you, but the benefits will spread beyond your fence. You can even be cyber kind. Bloggers love getting comments and likes (hint, hint) it really makes us smile!!!
I’m starting by just laughing with the Drama Queen while she steals biscuits from the pantry, hiding behind a wall of open cupboard doors. Then we might move on to some more hard core kindness I know the Drama Queen and Daredevil will be up for the game, Mr Perfect will warm up to the challenge too. Maybe I’ll post something about what we did and how we went next week.